The backhoe loader is like the Swiss army knife of trenching equipment, empowering utility crews to perform multiple functions with a single machine and operator.
On the rear is a digger that carves out trenches for laying underground gas, water and power lines at appropriate depths. On the front is the loader “bucket” that lifts heavy pipe, sewer lids, dirt and other materials to be moved from one part of the job site to another. The loader is also used to pour dirt back into the trench and smooth the soil in a way that restores the ground to as close to original condition as possible.
As a fleet manager, it’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing backhoe loader specs strictly through the lens of whether or not the machine can do the job. Is it the proper size? Does it offer the right dig depth? Can it carry sufficient weight in the loader? What is the machine’s weight, and how does it impact the combined truck and trailer weight for travel to the job site?
But don’t overlook the human factor. If your crews aren’t comfortable operating your backhoe fleet, you’ll likely experience an increase in worker fatigue, ergonomic injuries and lost productivity.